Project Night Recap – August 15

Cardboard enclosure with blue LED and no diffuserCardboard enclosure with purple LED and paper diffuser
The Hacktory window will soon be illuminated! Daniel, Christalee, and Sharp are constructing a 30″ x 48″ LED grid. The board will use a series of individual color-changing LEDs, a microcontroller, and some Python. The Hacktory will display the names of those who contribute to its upcoming Kickstarter campaign – illuminating your support for the mission of art and technology in Philadelphia.

At this week’s Project Night, Christalee and Daniel tested out various grid depths, using handmade cardboard walls to determine how to make the most of each individual light. Understanding the beam angle was key to creating the correct shape. They also tested some diffusion materials. Come learn, share, and see more of this and other exciting projects at next week’s Project Night, Thursday, August 22 @ 7pm! (We’re also hosting Technically Philly’s roundtable on the State of Collaborative Spaces that night from 630-8pm, it should be a full house!)

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Project Night Recap – August 8

Touchless 3D Interface by Make Magazine

3D Touchless Tracking Interface w/ Arduino from Make Magazine:

Last week, we had some folks in from the FIRST Robotics team at the Science Leadership Academy working on getting a couple of students up and running with Arduino. Bergey was working on laser cutting Raspberry Pi enclosure prototypes for our Kickstarter campaign rewards. If you haven’t seen it already, here is the teaser video for our Kickstarter campaign (an interview with Uri Pierre-Noel, Director of Arts Tech Meetup Philly) and more information about the Knight Arts Challenge matching grant that we received last summer. We’ll be launching that Kickstarter soon, so stay tuned for more details.

Early on in the evening, Georgia, Tim, Molly, Christalee, Bergey and Amy held a brainstorming session to discuss a new project opportunity funded through the Schuylkill River Banks Development Corp and Second Muse. The project would be part of a series of events throughout September and October to draw people to the Grays Ferry Crescent Trail Park, which will eventually be connected to the rest of the Schuylkill River Trail. Georgia, Tim and Amy took a short trip to the park to scope out the site and brainstorm possible installations and events for the project. We will have more details to share as the project is developed. Read More »

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Intro to Circuits, Sept. 15, 1-4pm

Photo by lungstruck.

To kick off our Fall series of costume hacking workshops (details coming soon), we’re reprising our Intro to Circuits class on Sunday, September 15 from 1-4pm! If you’ve been curious about what makes LEDs, Arduinos, and household appliances go, take the first step to demystify electricity & circuits. In this class, we’ll start with the very basics, teaching you how to identify common circuit components, use tools like multimeters and breadboards, read schematics and datasheets, and describe what’s going on with a few equations. You’ll build some simple circuits and go home with a mini-breadboard so you can tackle your own projects!

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Intro to Soldering, 7 August

Soldering is Easy!

Join us on August 7 and learn the basics of melting metal in this hands-on class. If you still haven’t picked up an iron, now’s the time!

Soldering is a basic way to make durable electrical connections and opens the door to all sorts of electronics kits and projects. These skills can (sort of) be transferred to jewelry making and even plumbing. Really, who wouldn’t want to try their hand at connecting small objects with molten metal?

Each student will assemble and solder a kit. We will have at least the following available:

MiniPOV (blinking LEDs, persistance of vision)
MintyBoost (charge your USB enabled gadgets!)
And for the more advanced:
Microcontroller programmers (program all your AVR family chips!)

The price includes one of the kits above. If you prefer to bring your own kit to assemble, we can refund the $20 kit fee at the door. Ages 13 & up; 10-12 with accompanying adult.

Wednesday, 7 July, 6pm-9pm

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Join us for Mentorhacks July 20th

We’re very excited to be hosting MentorHacks, a one day community codefest and skillshare framed around creating a space for experienced and inexperienced technologists. This event is being organized by the Urban Technology Project which is also the entity behind the Digital Service Fellows. UTP is organizing Mentorhacks because “The learning curve and bar to entry can be high for many people that are interested in learning how to create inelegant solutions to community challenges. MentorHacks aims to be a welcoming and affirming space for people of a variety of backgrounds and experiences to create together.” If you’re new to programming or hackathons, this is the event for you. Anyone from any background or skill level is welcome. They are also still looking for mentors with knowledge of programming and design, so if you’re interested in that, email mentorhacks AT

There’s also a launch event at Barcade on July 18th (21+ only), and you can register for that here.

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New Event: Max Project Session


Have you started messing around with Max (previously known as Max/MSP/Jitter), only to find yourself frustrated and confused? Feel like you’ve exhausted what you can learn from the tutorials, or that you’ve just hit a wall? This class is for those who are familiar with the Max environment, and have a specific project they need help moving forward with. If you’re unfamiliar with it, Max is a graphical programming environment — an application that allows you to create your own software, using a toolkit of user interface objects, (learn more at Through the use of additional hardware, like sensors and actuators, Max can be made to interact with the physical world and create complex, interactive, multimedia experiences.

Our instructor, Ashley John Pigford, is a designer operating at the intersection of technology and typography with some years of experience working with Max/MSP. He teaches in University of Delaware’s Department of Art – a second career after running a design studio in Los Angeles.

Ashley is donating his time for this workshop. We are charging a nominal fee to encourage people to show up on a potentially sunny summer day. When you register, be prepared to share a brief description of your project. This will help Ashley come prepared with resources that will be relevant and helpful. We won’t share your project idea with anyone else, though you will be encouraged to network and share as you feel comfortable with other class participants. We are keeping this class small though, with only 5 slots available to maximize the time Ashley can spend one-on-one with participants. If you don’t have a project right now but would love to take this class, consider looking up an awesome project that you might want to replicate. You’ll definitely learn a lot in the process. Be sure to register soon, slots will fill up fast!

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July Events Preview

School’s out and hot muggy weather stretches endlessly ahead… what better time to join us at the Hacktory for some tinker-time (and central AC)? Here’s a quick rundown of what’s coming up in the next couple of weeks:

  • First: there’s no Project Night on July 4, as it’s Independence Day. But we’ll be back in force on July 11, hosting PhillyPUG Project Night for the second month in a row! Whether you’re just dipping into Python for the first time or an experienced dev, you’ll find congenial & supportive company at Project Night, 7-9pm.
  • Ever wanted to make your own electronica? Our Intro to Audio Synthesis class will give you the tools and the know-how to jump in and make some noise! Join us on Wednesday July 17, 7-9pm.
  • We’ve rescheduled our Meet the Multimeter workshop to Saturday July 13, 1-4pm, so if you’ve been curious about how to start working with electronics, sign up today! The class is $10, or $25 including a multimeter. (New to electronics? Stay tuned for our Intro to Soldering workshop, coming up August 7!)
  • Saturday July 13 is also Soft Circuit Saturday, our monthly gathering for people who craft with circuits. We skipped last month to hang out at Fleischer ARTspiration, so we hope you’ll come by & show us what you’ve been working on!
  • We are rolling out a new event for those interested in creating interactive art. On Saturday July 27, 12 -4 pm we are hosting Max Project Workshop (How Can I Help You?) This event is meant to help anyone work on a project you’ve already started with Max. There’s only 5 slots so you can have lots of one-on-one time with our awesome instructor, and it’s only $5! Check out the details and sign up here.
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Project Night Recap 6.20 and 6.13


So I got a little behind on reporting back after our most recent Project Nights. This past week’s event was pretty quiet, though we had some regular volunteers from The Hacktory working on their projects. One of the awesome coders we met at the LadyHacks Hackathon back in March, Jana, came and worked a little more on a web app for our Hacking the Gender Gap workshop. A new walk-in, Tom D. came and we batted around some ideas with him about a tablet device that could help writers, by having a decent text editor and not much else, to minimize distractions. Our conversation meandered into using technology for all kinds of art, and I showed him this recent kickstarter project I backed called the NeoLucida, which is similar to the Camera Obscura, which helps you draw with the use of prisms.


For the 6.13 Project Night we had a few new people, including Tom, pictured here. Tom is working on some hardware he wants to be compatible with apple’s products, and he was trying to figure out how to make a connector that would do the first step of charging an iphone. He read on the Adafruit blog that idevices have tricky settings on different pins of the USB connection, so he was experimenting with that but was having trouble getting the current to flow through his board at all. Fortunately, Pete showed up, having traveled all the way from Miami to visit! Pete had looked up local hackerspaces while on a business trip to Delaware, and came to our Project Night to get some ideas, and potentially go back to Miami and start his own hackerspace. Pete also was knowledgeable about electronics and sat and helped Tom troubleshoot for the last half hour or so of project night. Christalee, another core organizer at The Hacktory, also helped Lyric, a local artist, think through some grant opportunities she might be able to use to create a Manic Machine event at The Hacktory, which we would love.

So, there you have it, two more Project Nights gone by when you could have been here experimenting, learning, or just chilling. Hope to see you at the next one!

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Document All Some of the Things, Saturday @ 12

Have you wanted to get involved at the Hacktory, but you’re not sure how? Most of our calls for volunteers involve helping out with public events & classes, but here’s one for people who like to work with words: this Saturday, June 22, we’re having a work party to knock off a pile of documentation-related tasks, and you’re invited! We’re hoping to finish migrating some old documents from Google to our new wiki; create how-tos for new volunteers working with our WordPress website, publicizing events, and other popular tasks; transcribe stories from recent Hacking the Gender Gap workshops; and other updates that will help the Hacktory keep working effectively.

We’ll start around noon with a brief rundown of tasks and an optional lesson on wiki markup. Anyone with a laptop and the ability to write a how-to is encouraged to participate. Folks are welcome to join us virtually; I’ll send out a PiratePad at the beginning of the day with details on how to stay in touch. Snacks & pizza will be provided. Please RSVP with dietary restrictions or any questions to bergey at thehacktory dot org.

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What if you worked at DMD?

DMD Opening Party

So by now you’ve hopefully heard about our new partnership and home base called the Department of Making + Doing. It’s a collaborative effort between us, NextFab Studio, Breadboard, and Public Workshop. You can imagine all the awesome stuff we’re up to already, and we need some help pulling it off. That’s why DMD is looking to hire a Program Manager to assist with all things DMD. The hours will be a lot of afternoons/evenings/Saturdays, but flexible, to assist with programming when it happens. Here’s the official details:

Job Posting: University City Science Center
Program Manager, DMD

The University City Science Center has an immediate opening for a Temporary (Present to November 30, 2014) full-time position for Program Manager, Department of Making + Doing (DMD). The Program Manager, DMD coordinates DMD operations and is vital to the success of this unique collaborative partnership. The Program Manager, DMD serves as the linchpin coordinating all events, programming and overseeing the daily operations of the DMD space. This position collaborates with the Science Center’s STEAM Program (“STEAM” refers to Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) partners and the Science Center’s Development, Marketing and Legal/Government Relations teams on program development and execution, fundraising, grant compliance, marketing and public relations efforts for DMD.

About DMD: DMD is building a collaborative space for curious Philadelphians to come together to realize ground-breaking art and design that inspires, educates, excites, and encourages creative “making” in Philadelphia. The DMD partner organizations – Breadboard (a program of the Science Center), The Hacktory, NextFab Studio and Public Workshop —will collaborate to provide programming that will transform the space at 3711 Market Street into a vibrant place of creative production and civic innovation, where participants are encouraged to use technology and scientific concepts to tackle creative challenges. The partners envision that the space will produce hybrid projects and products that could shine equally in an art exhibition, patent office, scientific conference or even a bus stop.

The successful candidate will have 3-5 years of experience managing projects, developing and delivering programming, and coordinating partnerships. Experience in arts, design and STEM education programming development is preferred. Prior non-profit experience is a plus. BFA/BA/BD/BS degree from an accredited college or university.

The Science Center offers a comprehensive employee benefit package which includes Medical, Dental, Short and Long Term Disability, Flexible Spending, Life Insurance and 403(b) with a significant company match.

Interested candidates should forward their resumes along with salary requirements by June 28th to:

Human Resources, University City Science Center
3711 Market Street, Suite 800
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Fax# 215-966-6151

Or email Kindra Sloan at

For more information, visit us on the web at

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer

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